The Republican National Committee will still need to hold some formal part of the Charlotte Convention because of the treaty agreements. But performative aspects of the convention, including the president’s speech, will take place in another city.
“The night the president accepts the nomination won’t happen in Charlotte,” an RNC official told CNN.
Two knowledgeable sources have warned that the decision does not appear to be final. But sources say there have been tense talks in the last 48 hours between the RNC and the governor’s office ahead of Trump’s self-imposed deadline, which is Wednesday.
The apparent move comes after tense negotiations between Republican officials and North Carolina government office officials Roy Cooper. Trump has begun targeting Cooper in the last two weeks over the drama of the convention, a strategy Republicans have said turns a Democratic governor into a scapegoat if the convention cannot fail as planned because of the coronavirus.
Cooper, the president tweeted, “is still in shelter mode and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally predicted and promised. It would show the world beautiful North Carolina and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs for the state.”
“Because of @NC_Governer, we are now forced to look for another state to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” he said.
Now the plan is to have Trump’s speech and some other events in another city.
“Because of the governor’s directive that our convention cannot go as planned under our rules, the celebration of the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will take place in another city,” another Republican official said. “If the governor allows more than 10 people into the room, we still hope he will serve the convention job in Charlotte.”
“We are contractually obliged to go to Charlotte,” one official explained, noting that the “convention deal” must take place in that city. But since this is not formally defined, RNC officials are working to determine which part of the convention still needs to happen in Charlotte.
This official notes that this is happening as a direct result of Cooper’s latest letter, in which he says the RNC should plan for a “reduced convention with fewer people”.
“Let’s reduce the size because he told us,” the clerk said.
Cooper wrote in a letter to Republican National Committee President Ronni McDaniel and Convention Executive Director Marcia Lee Kelly that he would like to continue talks with organizers, but unless they offer a much different plan, the chances of Charlotte being able to host the August event are “very unlikely.” . “
“People in North Carolina don’t know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning a reduced convention with fewer people, social distancing and face covering is necessary,” Cooper wrote. “We are happy to continue talking to you about what a reduced convention would look like and we are still waiting for your proposed plan to do so.”
After Trump’s tweet, Cooper said it was “unfortunate” that it wasn’t made.
Crisis planning is to the point where party officials plan to travel to Nashville later this week to spring up possible spaces, sources said, and could travel elsewhere in the near future. Both Nashville and Las Vegas were potential host cities before the Republicans officially elected Charlotte.
Chair McDaniel acknowledged in a statement after Cooper a letter that Republicans were scouting for alternative locations.
“We hope to still run the business of our convention in Charlotte, but we have an obligation for our delegates and nominees to start touring more of the cities and states we have achieved in recent days regarding the historic event to show that America is open for business,” he says. she in a statement.
McDaniel also accused Cooper of “dragging his feet” on the planners as guidelines.
Prior to Cooper’s response, Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said: “As we have said all along, we are committed to holding our convention in Charlotte, but we are still waiting for Governor Cooper to confirm that the convention originally contracted is still I can keep it there. “
The planned trips, first reported by Politico, are an obvious attempt by Republicans to show they are seriously considering withdrawing from the Charlotte Convention.
Despite pressure, Cooper, who is re-elected in November, has not moved from his stance that the state of the pandemic will dictate whether Republicans can fully rally in Charlotte.
“We’re talking about something that’s going to happen in three months and we don’t know what our situation will be regarding Covid-19 in North Carolina,” Cooper said last week. “We would like to reach a decision that everyone can be reasonable in making public health, safety, science and facts the number one thing we are trying to do here.”
Cooper’s office did not immediately answer CNN’s questions about the planned reconnaissance trips.
Where Republicans are set to hold a largely unchanged, personal convention, Democrats are open to the possibility that the event could change significantly or be completely virtual. Their convention in Milwaukee was moved from mid-July to mid-August due to concerns about the coronavirus in April.
This story and its title were updated with additional movements on Tuesday night.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.